A Motor vehicle accident in South Florida is a huge possibility statistically, in fact it is demonstrated that your risk of being involved in a road collision in Coral Gables or another part of South Florida is actually quite high. In 2019 alone, more than 3000 motor-vehicle related deaths were reported in the State.
What’s worrying is that this number continues to increase. In the first half of 2020, more motor-vehicle related deaths were reported in Florida compared to the same period of 2019. There was also an increase in the number of people who suffered serious injuries due to a car accident. Many of these people could not work for weeks and some for months due to their injuries. Needless to say, this impacted their livelihoods.
While you’d like to avoid being on the same boat as these people, the statistics tell us that the chances of that happening are minimal. The next best thing you can do is find out what you should be doing if you are ever involved in a motor vehicle accident in Coral Gables or another location in South Florida? Lucky for you, we provide the answers right here. Do the following in the exact order specified if you get involved in a motor vehicle accident in South Florida.
1. Check If Anyone is Injured and Get Help If Required
Before doing anything else, check if anyone is injured, and if required, get help as soon as possible. Since you are likely to be in a state of shock for a while after the accident, it may take you some time to notice that you—or another person involved in the crash—is injured.
If the injury is serious, call 911 as soon as you become aware of what has happened. Unless it affects the flow of traffic, don’t move your car from the crash site. This is because moving your car may remove any evidence that could later help you in your insurance or personal injury claim.
2. Call the Police and Let Them Know What Happened
Regardless of the nature or severity of your injuries, you should call the police and let them know what happened. This is because reporting an accident to the Florida Highway Patrol or Police is required by the state law in Florida if the accident results in death or injury.
It is not mandatory to notify the police about every car accident that occurs in Florida. However, you need to call the police right away if you’re involved in a collision or hit-and-run that has resulted in personal or property loss of $500 or more.
Reporting a car accident to the police is crucial, even if it happens to be a minor one. This is especially important if you’ve suffered an injury, and the accident is due to the negligence of the other party involved.
3. Gather Any Evidence That You Can
After you call the police and inform them about what happened, take pictures at the scene of the accident or gather any evidence that can strengthen your case before the police or another party removes it. Taking pictures of the accident scene or making a video of the crash site will help you greatly if and when you claim damages.
4. Get the Contact Information of the Other Driver Involved in the Motor Vehicle Accident
Exchange your phone number and any other important contact details with the other party involved in the accident. However, avoid interacting with the driver beyond this. Do not confess your mistake or say something that could be misinterpreted as an acknowledgment of wrongdoing.
5. Contact Your Lawyer
After you have gotten medical treatment for any injuries, reported the accident to the police, gathered all the evidence that you find, and exchanged contact information with the other party involved, the next step would be contacting an injury lawyer within your proximity, such as an Injury lawyer in South Florida, including Coral Gables, Miami, Hialeah and Doral.
Filing a lawsuit for a car crash in any part of Florida is relatively easy due to the State’s no-fault rule. Despite this, you could face a lot of problems in successfully filing a personal injury claim and getting fair compensation for your injuries if you decide to go solo.
If you are in Coral Gables or another part of South Florida, you must seek legal assistance from an injury lawyer in South Florida who has handled similar cases in the past. Doing this will significantly increase your chances of successfully filing a lawsuit for a car crash, especially when you’re sure that you’re not the one at fault for the accident.
6. Contact Your Insurance Provider
Once you have talked to an experienced injury lawyer in South Florida and taken their advice on how to pursue your case, you can get in touch with your insurance provider to begin the insurance claim process. Call your insurance company to tell them what happened and find out what is needed to get file an insurance claim.
Contact the insurance provider as soon as you can after the accident. Your insurer will evaluate your case to assess the severity of the damage and identify the guilty party. Based on this evaluation, the insurance provider will make an insurance payout.
Final Word Regarding Motor Vehicle Accidents
There is physical, financial, and emotional pain attached to a motor vehicle accident. While making a claim for damages and getting the due compensation won’t undo the wound and pain of the accident, it’ll at least alleviate some of your financial responsibility. If you are ever involved in a motor vehicle accident in Coral Gables and need legal assistance to file a damage claim successfully, then the injury lawyers at Diaz Law are only a call away.
We have some of the most experienced personal injury lawyers in South Florida who will guide you through the claims process to help you get fair compensation for your injuries. You can find out more by getting in touch with us today. Visit here for more information on what to do and how we can help. Be safe out there!
Personal Injury Protection
What is PIP?
PIP stands for personal injury protection. PIP is auto insurance that is placed on your car. In the state of Florida, PIP insurance is required for all vehicles with a coverage limit of $10,000.00. Florida is one of thirteen states that require PIP insurance.
Other states where PIP insurance is also required to be place on your vehicle include: Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Utah and The District of Columbia. The rest of the states have made PIP insurance optional.
What is Covered Under PIP?
PIP suits are governed under Florida statute 627.736. This statute allows for a statute of limitations of five years. However, this is not five years from when the accident occurred but five years from when the claim was not paid and became overdue. A claim becomes overdue if it is not paid within 30 days after the insurer has received written notice of a covered loss.
Under the statute, the insurance company is required to provide coverage to the named insured. The insurance provider is also required to provide coverage for the insured’s relatives residing in the same household, persons operating the vehicle, and passengers in the vehicle.
Some of the benefits of PIP insurance are that it will cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other related expenses regardless of who was at fault during the accident. For this reason, PIP insurance is also commonly referred to as No-Fault insurance.
To explain a bit further, the insurance carrier will still cover a claim regardless of who was at fault during the accident. PIP insurance will pay 80% of your expense up to the required $10,000.00 limit. In order to qualify, the insured will need to find a qualified medical provider within 14 days of the accident occurring. This time frame of 14 days is important because if you do not go see a medical provider within 14 days, then no PIP coverage applies.
PIP insurance will cover up to $10,000.00 for medical and disability benefits and $5,000.00 in death benefits. However, if after visiting a medical provider you are not diagnosed with an “Emergency Medical Condition” PIP will only cover up to $2,500.00.
The state of Florida has classified an Emergency Medical Conduction as a condition that requires immediate treatment and could result in serious injury to the patient.
Death benefits are paid if the death is the result of bodily injury, sickness, disease, or death as a result of ownership or use of the vehicle. Furthermore, the death benefits are in addition to the benefits paid for medical expenses.
PIP insurance will cover 60% of your lost wages as a result of injuries sustained during the accident. In order to receive payment from your insurance company your employer will be required to send the insurance company a wage and salary verification letter. Once approved, benefits will be paid every two weeks.
What is a Demand Letter?
A Demand letter is a letter stating that you are entitled to PIP benefits you have not received. A demand letter must be sent to the insurance company before filing a suit. However, a demand letter must be sent timely.
The letter must be sent before filing suit but after the claim is overdue. The demand letter must include language stating that it is a “demand letter under §627.736”.
Additionally, the letter must include the name of the insured that is seeking benefits under the policy, the policy number and the name of any medical provider who provided services. An additional requirement states the letter must be mailed to the insurance company using The United States postal service. The letter can be sent either by certified or registered mail and a return receipt is required for either option.
After the insurance company receives the demand letter, the insurance company has 30 days to respond.
If the insurance company decides to pay the claim, than the insurance company must also include in their payment: (1) a penalty of 10% of the overdue amount and (2) repay the postage. The insurance company is not required to pay any attorney fees if they pay the claim. If the claim is not paid, then a suit against the insurance company will be filed.
Filing a PIP Suit:
If the claims in the demand letter are not paid then a suit will be filed. To begin the suit process a lawyer will file a claim in county court. Typically the next thing to happen is that there will be a Pre-Trial conference scheduled. At this conference, an attorney for the insurance company and an attorney for the insured seeking benefits will appear.
Most cases will settle before or at the Pretrial Conference. What this means is that the case will conclude quickly and the insured will receive the benefits that they are seeking. It is difficult to give an exact time frame, as all cases are different.
Rear- End Collision
You’ve just been in an accident and your mind is racing. After the initial shock of the accident passes, you start to wonder about your legal options and whether the law is in your favor. Below is an explanation of Florida law and what you need to know when you are involved in a rear-end collision.
Miami Car Accident Statistics:
Whether it’s due to the fast paced lifestyle in Miami or the amount of people that call Miami home, car accidents are commonplace. With over 16 million drivers on the streets, there are bound to be accidents.
The Florida Department of Motor Vehicle reports that in Miami-Dade County, there have been 374,342 traffic accidents in 2015. Of these accidents, a total of 2,939 were fatal.
The report further shows that from the year 2014 to 2015 there was an 8.77% increase in traffic accidents. The three most common causes of accidents are drunk driving, distracted driving, and drowsy driving.
What to do After an Accident:
The first thing you should do after an accident is to immediately stop your vehicle. If your vehicle is obstructing traffic then you should move your vehicle to the shoulder of the road or if possible, move the vehicle completely off the road. You must immediately call the police if the accident involves: (1) death, (2) a hit and run, (3) an intoxicated driver, or (4) property damage of over $500.00.
It is important to document as much information as possible and you can start by exchanging information with the other driver. Additionally, you should talk to any available witnesses and take pictures. Lastly, keep in mind that it is always recommended to consult an attorney, as they are best suited to help you.
Florida’s Rebuttable Presumption:
The law in Florida states that there is a rebuttable presumption of negligence that attaches to the rear driver in a collision. A rebuttable presumption means that, although it is assumed the rear-end driver is at fault, the rear-end driver will have a chance to challenge this presumption and he or she will not be automatically be found guilty.
Some ways that this presumption can be challenged are by: (1) testimony that the front driver suddenly and unexpectedly stopped, (2) that there was a mechanical failure in the front car or (3) that the front driver was breaking a traffic law. If the presumption is successfully challenged the jury will determine negligence.
Left- turn Collision:
Typically, the person making the left hand turn will be presumed negligent. However, just as in a rear-end collision, this is a rebuttable presumption.
The driver making the left hand turn can successfully rebut a presumption by showing: (1) that the car going straight was traveling at an excessive speed, (2) the car going straight went through a red light, or (3) something unexpectedly affected the left turn driver’s otherwise safe left turn.
Pure Comparative Negligence:
Florida is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that each person involved in an accident is liable for his or her own negligence. For example, let’s suppose driver 1 (Bob) has rear-ended driver 2 (John).
It is determined that Bob is 90% liable for the accident and that John is 10% liable for the accident. Under a comparative negligence approach, this means that John would only be able to recover 90% of his injuries from Bob.
Florida is a No-Fault State:
The Florida courts have made the state of Florida a “No Fault State”. This does not mean that you will not be at fault if you caused a crash. What it does mean is that each driver will use his or her own insurance no matter who is at fault. Florida has passed legislation that requires each person to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance.
PIP not only covers you as the driver but it also covers family and individuals in the car. Florida is 1 of 13 states that has made PIP insurance mandatory for each driver. PIP insures each driver $10,000.00 in coverage to be used for things such as medical bills and lost wages regardless of who was at fault for the accident.